Sadly, we just lost another wonderful person-my father’s best friend, the person who bought me my first Bible, someone who once mentored me, a great listener and a firm believer. This loss made me realize the legacies we leave.
If anyone knew Odessa Felactu, they would understand the meaning of ”jumping off the pier.” Each year our Greek-American community would take a trip to Catalina Island where Odessa and other parents led a group of awkward teenagers to an island near Los Angeles. Rather than setting stringent rules, he encouraged us to break them. He urged us to safely jump off the pier and into the ocean. We would take turns, often terrified before the jump and reinvigorated once in the water. Odessa was always right there, holding our hand before we jumped and smiling with pride when we came out of the water. He also invented the midnight hike, where he led our group on a grueling two-hour hike to a destination of a church bell. Every day leading up to the hike, he would always talk about this “midnight hike,” sparking our interest of hiking so late and in the dark. In the interim of all the excitement, he would do what he did best-Talk to us about our faith.
Looking back, he had a way of teaching us how to take risks yet stay grounded in our faith. As children, we had faith that we would be okay with all these activities because we trusted Odessa. As adults, we must transfer this trust within our own faith. If we have faith and trust in God, we have nothing to fear. I will be forever grateful for Odessa for teaching me this lesson and for investing in our youth. His legacy is tremendous.